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Downtown Dickinson will host Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday this weekend

Downtown Dickinson is gearing up for a busy weekend as local store owners celebrate the city's first Plaid Friday followed by Small Business Saturday.

Downtown Dickinson will be clad in plaid for the city's first Plaid Friday, an alternative to Black Friday celebrating small businesses. Photo by Ellie Potter/The Dickinson Press
Downtown Dickinson will be clad in plaid for the city's first Plaid Friday, an alternative to Black Friday celebrating small businesses. Photo by Ellie Potter/The Dickinson Press

Downtown Dickinson is gearing up for a busy weekend as local store owners celebrate the city's first Plaid Friday followed by Small Business Saturday.

Peggy Anderson, owner of JP Frameshop and Western Edge Gallery, was in Fargo last year for its Plaid Friday. Hundreds of people were in the streets "clad in plaid," receiving discounts and promotions from local businesses in the downtown area.

So she got permission from Fargo to bring the idea to Dickinson this year.

"You wear plaid, and you look for a participating business that has plaid on the outside of their building somewhere," she said. "Then you go in, and as long as you're wearing plaid, you'll probably get a discount or a promotional thing or a drawing for a giveaway - something like that. It's just to make downtown fun and sort of a unified thing."

Plaid Friday serves as a slower-paced alternative to the traditional Black Friday that the large retailers host, she said. Some stores downtown will open as early as 7 a.m. that day, but most will be open at least from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The downtown area will don plaid with plaid ribbons in the trees and some businesses decorating for the theme.

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"I think downtown was actually sort of lost the day after Thanksgiving because I think most people do go to larger stores, and this was a way to hopefully bring people downtown, to shop downtown, have fun downtown," Anderson said.

Danielle Johnsen, owner of Cobalt Closet, said her store used to be in a different location further away from central downtown. As a result, she said she had good business on Black Friday but was slower on Small Business Saturday. This year she hopes things will be different.

"I am enjoying working together with all the other downtown businesses and help promote downtown as a whole because I'd like us all to be busy," Johnsen said.

On Nov. 27, 2010 American Express launched the first Small Business Saturday in an effort to boost national support for small businesses, according to the company's website. In 2011 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the day. In 2014 there was an estimated $14.3 billion spent at small, independent businesses that day, and in 2015 an estimated 95 million people shopped at a small business.

Downtown will probably be blue and white on Saturday in support, Anderson said.

"It's local. Instead of buying or purchasing something, giving money to a corporation, it's purchasing from people that live here, that work here, that spend their money here, send their kids to school here - clubs, ballet lessons, baseball - these are the people that are supporting this town or helping to support them," she said.

Kristi Schwartz, the president of the Dickinson Downtown Association, also stressed the importance of shopping locally noting that the profits large retailers make oftentimes do not remain in the community where they were generated, though the payroll dollars do. She encouraged the community to check out downtown Friday and Saturday - days to highlight small businesses.

"They support local merchants who support our community," she said. "The dollars stay in our community. ... So by supporting local merchants and especially small businesses, the dollars stay local."

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Dickinson Events - which is composed of local store owners - has been working more closely with the Downtown Association this year with a common goal of getting more people to shop downtown, Anderson said. There have been more events this year to attract people - including younger people-as a result.

"If we don't continue to make downtown look fun, I think the younger generation sees us as old and stale," Johnsen said.

Downtown will also host a Christmas Stroll on Dec. 3 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. featuring activities for kids, carolers, Santa, horse and buggy rides as well as vendors serving food, hot chocolate, coffee and spirits, Anderson said. The stroll will be primarily a community holiday event and a chance for people to get started on their Christmas shopping.

"Come downtown, it's the place to be," she said.

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